The leaves are turning, temps are dropping, and the crappie are biting! Fall crappie fishing can be some of the best all year, once you locate them. If you’re willing to trade some of your tree stand time this fall, you can be rewarded with some nice stringers full of slab crappie. There is something special about the month of October, in fact some of my most memorable fishing trips have taken place in the fall. The key to this amazing fall feed is location, which in my opinion is always the biggest key to any successful fishing trip.
“Mercury Pro Team Member Kevin Rogers fishing timber located on flats that are directly off of the main creek channel.”
My home lake is over 56,000 acres of some of the best looking crappie fishing water you can find. With all of this water, it can definitely be intimidating. Location is the key, more so than any other time of the year for locating the fall feeding crappie. By understanding what crappie are doing this fall, you can eliminate unproductive water quickly. My tournament partner (and Father, Charlie Rogers), and I, have been to three different states in the last month chasing fall crappie.
There are two patterns that are filling live wells across the Midwest this fall. The first pattern is for the reservoirs where the timber is still visible (almost all of our lakes in MO, KS & OK still have standing timber in them). We are catching fish next to the standing timber in 5’ to 9’ of water. Again the key, for finding the fall feed, is location. Not all timber is holding slab crappie this time of year. The timber we are fishing is located on flats; flats that are directly off of the main creek channel. The crappie are holding on the tress located on the flats that quickly come up to 9’ of water, not a gradual slope. This allows the crappie to move out over the creek channel and then move a short distance, up on the flat to feed on baitfish that are holding right next to the trees. Our bait of choice for this technique is the brand new, Bobby Garland Baby Shad Swim’ R. The Swim’ R is a segmented swimming version of the famous Baby Shad in a longer, 2.25” body that features a tight action swim tail, and a special scent channel in the belly for optional scent application. We team the Swim’ R with a 1/8 once Mo’Glo Head. This pattern will hold true until the middle of December, here in the Midwest (Missouri).
The second fall pattern we are fishing now is brush piles in 10’ to 17’ of water. Brush piles, either manmade, natural, or something more sophisticated like an American Fish Tree, placed in the right location can absolutely provide the mother load for you this fall. Last weekend, we fished on Truman Lake, MO. Our game plan was to execute this one, two punch for fall crappie. We started our day on a favorite American Fish Tree, our plan was to not leave our starting spot until we had our tournament limit of seven crappie. By 9:00 am, we had seven crappie over 1 ¼ pound, off of our first spot. This demonstrates just how awesome the fall bite can be! We switch over to a larger bait when fishing this pattern and we do this to help eliminate the smaller fish. This is due to the number of fish that load up in the piles in fall. Our specific bait that has been #1 for us the last four weeks is the 3” Bobby Garland Slab Slay’R in the, “Lights out” color. We are using the large 3/16 once Mo Glo heads with the Slab Slay’R. This pattern will be our “go to pattern” until the lakes freeze over, or the crappie start to move shallow again in spring.
So, if you can keep your bow and shotgun at home, grab your favorite Ozark Rod and go load the boat during the fall feed.